Let us think about this. Why do you suppose Khalistanis are taking so much interest in the debate over farm laws in Punjab? Whether the laws stay or go, how does it help their cause of breaking up India? So why would Khalistanis like Jagmeet Singh or Mo Dhaliwal living in faraway Canada be so worked up over the fate of agricultural mandis in India?
The answer is simple. Because they understand the importance of proximity. The Khalistanis are hoping to make friends among people in Punjab who have negative sentiments about these farm laws. They hope that eventually, they will be able to mutate these friendships into support for their real cause.
You must have seen the headlines yesterday. India has been ‘downgraded.’ By whom? Some apparently international organization called Freedom House. They have downgraded our status from ‘free country’ to ‘partly free.’ In other words, more bad press for Modi on the international circuit. An adrenaline rush for those who used to be in power but no longer are.
All the reactions were on expected lines. Those who support PM Modi expressed their usual irritation over being unfairly targeted by global media, their high handed tone and eagerness to intervene in our domestic affairs. Those who are against the PM were utterly grateful for yet another foreign NGO telling us how to run our country. In other words, everyone held on firmly to their political beliefs. Not even one vote moved from one side to the other. So, why worry about this?
Because we need to read the fine print of what really happened yesterday.
You have probably already noticed at least one thing shocking about this graphic. Jammu gone, Kashmir gone, Ladakh gone! They didn’t even take a middle path and include those parts which are still actively administered by India. They didn’t just snatch the occupied parts, they cut it all off.
Millions of Indians are currently circulating this graphic with a great sense of joy and vindication. They think they are striking a note of dissent against Modi. In reality, they are cheering a graphic that shows a future India minus Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Imagine how pleased Pakistan and China must be.
But that’s not all. Look more closely and you will see that it says: “Over the last 15 years, India experienced a precipitous score decline…“
Hold on! Fifteen years? That works out to roughly six years of Narendra Modi and nine years of Dr. Manmohan Singh. But the headlines were just about the snub to Modi, remember?
Freedom House knew exactly what they were doing. It is not enough for them if you hate Modi. They need you to hate both Congress and BJP. They need you to accept that the Indian state is hopelessly fascist no matter who runs it. Because they want to recruit you to break India.
Now you see what really happened. Perhaps you dislike Modi very much. Perhaps you really believe he is a fascist. But by cheering this graphic, they made you sign up with the assertion that not just Modi but Dr. Singh was a fascist too! In other words, the entire Indian polity is fascist. India as a whole is fascist.
Let’s see. In the 2019 general elections, the NDA polled around 45% of the total votes. These are Modi’s supporters. The remaining people would have a whole spectrum of opinions about him. Some would like him but not a whole lot. Some would dislike him but not that much. But because of the very nature of democracy, you can be certain that there would be a hardcore segment, say 25% of the population who dislike him intensely.
This 25% was the real target of Freedom House. They wanted to use the anti-Modi convictions of this 25% and convert it into an anti-India faction.
Ordinarily, this 25% would not support cutting off Jammu, Kashmir or Ladakh from India. Beyond a few thousand hardcore traitors or even less, no Indian would support this. But yesterday, Freedom House was able to build a bridge. They were able to reach out to maybe a quarter of the population.
How many of these 25% would cheer the Indian Army withdrawing from Ladakh? How many of them would enjoy seeing Jammu and Srinagar handed over to Pakistan? Very few. How many of these 25% would say that India is inherently evil, with both Congress and BJP being fascist parties? Again, hardly any.
But you cannot deny that yesterday Freedom House has opened a channel of communication with this segment of population. Which would work out to crores of people. Whether we like it or not, Freedom House has snagged a tiny place in their heart. Till yesterday, the influence of Freedom House was limited to a few thousand hardcore traitors. Today their sphere of influence has grown to several crores.
They will now work on this bridge. They will make it stronger. Tomorrow, another international NGO will come with another report and another map, perhaps this time with Arunachal cut off as well. The media headlines will scream about how Modi made India worse. In the fine print, you will find that not just Modi and Dr. Singh, but also Vajpayee was fascist. Those who hate Modi will still forward it joyfully, thinking it’s all just “dissent.”
You can dislike Modi all you want. You have a right to do that. But, watch out because there are well-funded folks looking to use your anger to turn you against India itself. So do yourself and all of us a favor by always reading the fine print!